22 July 2014

Georgia Beers and Olive Oil & White Bread

Bywater Books 2014
This week on Woman-Stirred Radio
4:15 News and music
5:15 Georgia Beers

Angie's family is fun and big and gathers for Sunday dinner every week. Jillian's family is small and reserved and her mother terribly disappointed that her daughter is a lesbian. But the two meet and fall in love and build a life together that straddles the tensions of careers, the acceptance and adaptation to changing scenarios, the disappointments of love and sex, friendship and betrayal, and ultimately reaffirming love and loyalty.
Join us this week on Woman-Stirred Radio for an interview with award-winning author Georgia Beers. We'll talk about her new novel, Olive Oil & White Bread, and of the decisions and the creative strategies she used in writing it.
Olive Oil & White Bread is skillfully paced, gifted with terrific characters, well-crafted dialogues,, and an interesting look inside the industry of logo promotions. Beer addresses the mundane and the quirky aspects of lesbian partnership and the difficult process of moving gracefully through life's triumphs as well as let-downs. 
Georgia Beers
Georgia Beers just wants “to become the best writer I can be.” She already has a Lambda Literary Award and six Golden Crown Literary Society Awards to her name, and is one of the best-selling authors of lesbian romance. But from the start she has always wanted to get better.
She began cautiously enough: first a journal; next, essays and short stories; then she met other authors online. And the more she practiced, the more determined she became. She could write what sells best—or she could write what she preferred. And that meant lesbian fiction.
Her first draft was accepted for publication straightaway. Since then, she’s developed a rigorous process for writing. Any idea that comes her way gets written straight down onto an index card. It may be as simple as “A meets B,” or it may be a great line she’s overheard, but once it’s down on a card, it won’t be forgotten. The cards pile up, the details of the story gradually emerge, and when she’s sure she’s got what she needs, she spreads the cards out on the table—and orders the details of the story into line.
Then she gets down to work. Though apparently she’s pretty lazy. She says she’s got a lousy attention span, writes only in spurts, and sometimes avoids her desk by taking her vacuum for a walk.
Georgia’s first Bywater title, 96 Hours, was published in October 2011. It received Gold in the Gay & Lesbian Fiction category of the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards and received a Goldie for Traditional Contemporary Romance.

Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts
live on WGDR 91.1 fm and
WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College community radio station
in Plainfield, Vermont. 

16 July 2014

Wynn Malone's Finding the Grain

Bywater Books, 2014
4:15 Wynn Malone

This week's show features Wynn malone's new novel, Finding the Grain (Bywater Books, 2014).

I found the novel to be an intriguing blend of Jane Rule and Sarah Aldridge. The geographical and chronological details are terrific and authentic. Malone's characters are well developed, engaging, and realistic, with dialogues that reveal quirks of personality and nuanced behaviors. Malone seduces readers into caring for what happens to the characters she has created, and offers us wonderful descriptions of the physical beauty and cultural complexity of The South.

"Augusta 'Blue' Riley’s parents are killed by a tornado in her last month of high
school, Blue is thrown into a world where nothing is what she expected. She moves from her farm in Alabama to North Carolina to be near her aunt and attend college. Interesting classes and the love of sorority girl Grace Lancaster help Blue let go of her grief. But her world is shattered again when Grace abruptly leaves her.
Blue quits college and hits the road. For nearly twenty years she moves from town to town, job to job, woman to woman—always the first to move on—until Blue comes back to the farming life that shaped her childhood. Mississippi Delta farmer Preacher Rowe and his invalid wife Mary put Blue to work plowing the fields and helping in the house. Eventually, Preacher teaches Blue the art and craft of fine woodworking and for the first time since her parents death Blue takes control of her life.
The pull of the mountains brings Blue back to North Carolina where she opens a woodworking gallery. When her lost love walks in the door the strength and serenity Blue thought she found is put to the ultimate test.

Wynn Malone
"Wynn Malone was born and raised in rural Alabama, where she spent most of her childhood roaming around outside, fishing, and occasionally smoking rabbit tobacco. As a federal
employee in natural resource management subject to the whims of Washington politics, she is constantly reminded of the value[s] of patience and perspective" (BWB).

So join us this week on Woman-Stirred Radio for an in-depth conversation with author Wynn Malone.

And I welcome and encourage listeners to call in with comments and questions. Our toll-free number is 1.800.646.9437 and you can reach us locally at 802.454.7762.

Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College community radio station in Plainfield, Vermont.     

8 July 2014

Missing Class and The Tolerance Trap This Week on WSR

Thursday July 10th on WSR
4:15  Betsy Leondar-Wright
5:00: Suzanna Danuta Walters

4:15  Betsy Leondar-Wright's Missing Class

What tends to drive activists crazy about meetings? How do groups of different classes deal with low-turnout? How do class culture differences get in the way of building cross-class coalitions? Who uses the word "class" and who doesn't?

All excellent questions, and Leonddar-Wright addresses each one and more in her new book, Missing Class: Strengthening social movement groups by seeing class cultures (ILR/Cornell, 2014)).

Betsy Leondar-Wright has written an accessible, and engaging portrayal and narrative of US activist-class cultures. 
Betsy Leondar-Wright

Leondar-Wright is the program director of Class Action, the author of Class Matters: Cross-class alliance building for middle class activists, and co-author of The Color of Wealth: The story behind the U.S. racial wealth divide.

Leondar-Wright "looks at class dynamics spanning the gamut of social movement organizations in the United States...including the labor movement, grassroots community organizing, and groups working on global causes in the anarchist and progressive traditions.... and 
"describes class differences in paths to activism, attitudes towards leadership, methods of conflict resolution, ways of using language [you know, all those salty-mouthed activists who call it like they see it] diversity practices, use of humor, methods of recruiting, and group process preferences" (ILR/Cornell).

Missing Class is a fascinating book, sharp, insightful and... well... enjoyable! 
It's a conversation and listeners are encouraged to call toll-free or local with questions and comments.


5:00: Suzanna Danuta Walters
The Tolerance Trap (NYU Press, 2014)

From Glee to gay marriage, from lesbian senators to out gay Marines, we have undoubtedly experienced a seismic shift in attitudes about gays in American politics and culture. Our reigning national story is that a new era of rainbow acceptance is at hand. But dig a bit deeper, and this seemingly brave new gay world is disappointing. For all of the undeniable changes, the plea for tolerance has sabotaged the full integration of gays into American life. Same-sex marriage is unrecognized and unpopular in the vast majority of states, hate crimes proliferate, and even in the much-vaunted “gay friendly” world of Hollywood and celebrity culture, precious few stars are openly gay.
In The Tolerance Trap, Suzanna Walters takes on received wisdom about gay identities and gay rights, arguing that we are not “almost there,” but on the contrary have settled for a watered-down goal of tolerance and acceptance rather than a robust claim to comprehensive civil rights. Indeed, we tolerate unpleasant realities: medicine with strong side effects, a long commute, an annoying relative. Drawing on a vast array of sources and sharing her own personal journey, Walters shows how the low bar of tolerance demeans rather than ennobles both gays and straights alike. Her fascinating examination covers the gains in political inclusion and the persistence of anti-gay laws, the easy-out sexual freedom of queer youth, and the suicides and murders of those in decidedly intolerant environments. She challenges both “born this way” story lines, which root civil rights in biology, and “God made me this way” arguments, which similarly situate sexuality as innate and impervious to decisions we make to shape it.
A sharp and provocative cultural critique, this book deftly argues that a too-soon declaration of victory short-circuits full equality and deprives us all of the transformative possibilities of deep integration. Tolerance is not the end goal, but a dead end. In The Tolerance Trap, Walters presents a complicated snapshot of a world-shifting moment in American history—one that is both a wake-up call and a call to arms for anyone seeking genuine equality.

Suzanna Danuta Walters
Suzanna Danuta Walters has written and lectured extensively on sexuality, popular culture, and feminism and is currently Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University. She is the author of several books, including All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America and Material Girls: Making Sense of Feminist Cultural Theory.

Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College community radio station in Plainfield, Vermont.     


2 July 2014

Award-Winning Lesbian Mystery Writer Ellen Hart this Week on Woman-Stirred

This Week on Woman-Stirred Radio

4:00  News, Music, and Announcements

5:00  Ellen Hart 

Ellen Hart
Ellen Hart is the author of twenty-eight crime novels in two different series. She is a five-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery, a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Popular Fiction, a three-time winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award in several categories, a recipient of the Alice B Medal, and was made an official GLBT Literary Saint at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans in 2005. 

In 2010, Ellen received the GCLS Trailblazer Award for lifetime achievement in the field of lesbian literature. For the past fourteen years, Ellen has taught "An Introduction to Writing the Modern Mystery" through the The Loft Literary Center, the largest independent writing community in the nation. Bella Books has recently revived the out-of-print books by publishing them in both trade paperback and E-book. Ellen lives in the Minneapolis area with her partner of 34 years.

We'll be talking about Hart's newest Jane Lawless book,  
another slam-dunk of a mystery that brims with complex characters, humor, hilarious one-liners, and a terrific plot to boot, including Prohibition-era murders, murders of a more recent era, and the murder of a beloved country-western superstar that plunges an entire family into grief and panic.

Hart's ability to discern the more subtly darker nature of human beings as well as the overt self-serving motives of people combine to effect enjoyable and thought-provoking summer reading.

So tune in or stream Woman-Stirred Radio live this Thursday July 3rd, from 4 to 6 pm. Want to join the conversation? Call the air studio at 1-800-646-9437 or on our local number, 802-454-7762.

Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts
live on WGDR 91.1 fm and
WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College community radio station
in Plainfield, Vermont. 

25 June 2014

Nell Bernstein's Burning Down the House: the end of juvenile prison

Nell Bernstein at 5 p.m. (eastern)

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." Nelson Mandela

I've read many books of all kinds during the ten-plus years that I've been producing and hosting Woman-Stirred Radio, and many have had an impact and profound effect on me, but Bernstein's book has moved me very deeply and elicited both profound empathy and outrage.

It's a marvelously well-written book; the stories compelling, tragic, enraging, and astonishing. Burning Down the House deserves great attention and  intense discussion. I sincerely hope listeners call in with questions, comments, and even personal narratives.

Burning Down the House (New Press,2014) is "a clear-eyed indictment of a failed institution---the juvenile detention facility.... [Bernstein] allows imprisoned youth to describe in their own voices the fight to hold on to hope and humanity in an environment designed to deny both" (TNP).

Call in your questions & comments to the air-studio 1-800-646-9437 or locally 802.454.7762.

Nell Bernstein
"One in three American schoolchildren will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three, many of them for so-called status offenses---including cutting school, drinking alcohol, or disrespecting a policeman.

"Despite recent reforms, too many youths will land in horrific state detention facilities where children as young as twelve are preyed upon by guards; driven mad by months in solitary; and, in their own words, 'treated like animals'" (TNP).

"A study conducted and released by the Department of Justice's Review Panel on Prison Rape... highlights findings of the National Survey of Youth in Custody, based on confidential interviews with more than nine thousand young people in 195 facilities across the country. The survey found that 12 percent of juvenile prisoners---more than three thousand young people---had been sexually abused at least once over the previous year. In some facilities, as many as 30 percent of the wards had been abused within that time frame.... [and that] rates are higher in juvenile than in adult prisons" (p.104).

Bernstein has "delivered and epic work of investigative journalism that lays bare our nation's brutal and counterproductive juvenile prisons and is a clarion call to bring our children home" and she clearly demonstrates that the very act of isolating children in punitive prisons denies delinquent youth the one thing essential to rehabilitation: positive relations with caring adults" (TNP).

Nell Bernstein is a former Soros Justice Media Fellow in New York and winner of a White House Champion of Change award. Her articles have appeared in Newsday, Salon, Mother Jones, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She lives in Northern California.

Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts
live on WGDR 91.1 fm and
WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College community radio station
in Plainfield, Vermont. 

Call in your questions & comments to the air-studio at
1-800-646-9437 or locally at

14 May 2014

Poet A. Van Jordan's Cineasts :: Sandra Tsing Loh's The Madwoman in the Volvo

Thursday May 22nd on Woman-Stirred Radio

A. Van Jordan (photo by Austin Thomason)
5:00: A. Van Jordan ::  The Cineaste
"A remarkable montage of poems that explore film, poetry, and the elusiveness of reverie.
A. Van Jordan, an acclaimed American poet and the author of three previous volumes, 'demonstrates poetry’s power to be at once intimate and wide-ranging' (Robert Pinsky, Washington Post Book World). In this penetrating new work he takes us with him to the movies, where history reverberates and characters are larger than life. 
The Cineaste is an entrancing montage of poems, wherein film serves as the setting for contemplative trances, memoir, and pure fantasy. At its center is a sonnet sequence that imagines the struggle of pioneer filmmaker Oscar Micheaux The Birth of a Nation, which Micheaux saw not only as racist but also as the start of a powerful new art form. “Sharpen the focus in your lens, and you / Sharpen your view of the world; you can see / How people inhabit space in their lives, / How the skin of Negroes and whites both play / With light.” Scenes and characters from films such as Metropolis,Stranger than ParadiseLast Year at MarienbadThe Red Shoes, and The Great Train Robbery also come to luminous life in this vibrant new collection. The Cineaste is an extended riff on Jordan’s life as a moviegoer and a brilliant exploration of film, poetry, race, and the elusiveness of reverie" (WWNorton).
against D. W. Griffith’s
from “Last Year at Marienbad”

A place, though visible, is like a ghost
of memories. Even memories one forgets
linger in the space in which they occurred.
Here within the expanse of vaulted ceilings, 

doorways leading to more doors, hallways
leading to more halls, the faintest recollections
absorb over time; no act will wholly evanesce.

4:15  Sandra Tsing Loh's The Madwoman in the Volvo

From the "imaginatively twisted and fearless" (Los Angeles Times) writer Sandra Tsing Loh, comes The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones Hormones (May 2014, WWNorton), a hilarious memoir of middle age.

Sandra Tsing Loh (Photo by Tatjana Loh)
"Middle-aged women are America's largest demographic group, and they are juggling caregiving, work, and relationships all while going through hormonal changes-at a time of life when ancient tribeswomen went to a cave to be alone. In this moving and at times laugh-out-loud memoir, Sandra Tsing Loh tells the story of her personal roller coaster. It includes an affair with a married man, the explosion of her marriage, and the pressures of keeping her daughters off Facebook while managing the legal and marital hijinks of her eighty-nine-year-old dad. Surprisingly, deeper research into the biological science of menopause suggests that this is all normal. Loh deduces that this midlife "madness" is less about menopause than about the madness of the world: trying to maintain appearances during an epic hormonal (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) change. The upbeat conclusion: it does get better" (WWNorton).

Writer and performer Sandra Tsing Loh is a contributing editor to The Atlantic, host of the syndicated radio show The Loh Down on Science, and the author of five previous books. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays. In addition to having been a regular commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition and PRI’s This American Life, she has performed two solo shows off-Broadway. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Call the air-studio with your questions and comments!!
1 800 646 9437

Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts
live on WGDR 91.1 fm and
WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College community radio station
in Plainfield, Vermont.